Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Death by Any Other Name

Plugging in...

This is not a good story. It does have a lesson which will divulge itself momentarily.

A client called for a "check-up" of their computer. It's running slow, won't always read Kodak photos CDs and other sundry items. A typical call the Tutor receives.

After finding nothing unusual but the usual detritus to cleanup, and some minor education in how Kodak Easy Share software works, the time was ripe for a backup. The client had not used their in-place backup (Maxtor One Touch) for six months. Can you see where this might be going?

Maxtor plugged in, computer performing the super easy backup until, until, until... (don't you just love the suspense of a computer mystery?) the laptop screen turned black, and ALL power faded away. Huh? That's what we both said too. Computer did restart, but the only hint of life was a blinking white cursor against a dark screen. And two large sighs were heard round the world.

The laptop, coincidentally, had breathed its last breath at the same time the backup was taking place. A massive heart attack, if you will. No CPR, no EMT assistance. Dead as in not worthy of fixing (it was 5 years old).

The moral of the story is: can you guess? If one has a backup plan in place, one must USE the backup plan in place. What good is the backup if it's six months old? Albeit, better than NO backup at all, but six months could paralyze some people who rely on their computers to earn their keep.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, IS IT BACKED UP, and is it turned on?


Monday, January 11, 2010

My Password? What Password?

Plugging in...

Those pesky passwords are just killing us. Create a password here, change a password there. Here a password, there a password, everywhere a password. Old McInternet had a password, E I E I O.

Good as the Tutor is, a password cracker is not the Tutor's claim to fame. The Tutor can help with many things password: changing a password that was forgotten, resetting wireless router passwords, assisting in creating a method so that password forgetting or writing down (kind of defeats the purpose, right?) is a thing of the past.

Think pattern. That's a hint for creating a new password for every Tom, Dick or Harry that begs for one. Use the pattern each time and you'll never have to remember what the password is again.

Don't understand "pattern"? Call the Tutor. The Tutor knows how to pattern. If patterning isn't your thing, consider using a password program to securely save and/or create the passwords for you. Roboform is the Tutor's current fav.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, did you use the password pattern and is it turned on?


Friday, January 8, 2010

Whoa, it's a New Year

Plugging in...

Happy new year and welcome to the decade of 2010.

But where oh where has the Tutor been? The blog lost some steam in December, 2009, like many things in the world. The Tutor though, was occupied with enjoying the fabulous holiday season of 2009 and knee deep in installing four desktop computers, among myriad other computer-related tasks.

Unplugged is still goin' on out there, even when the Tutor's fa la la-ing. A keyboard this time. A frantic call early one morning. Can't type, can't shutdown, can't send an email, can't, can't, can't.

The caller had already shut off the computer and restarted it but the Tutor suggested unplugging the keyboard and plugging it back in again. The call ended, and the phone rang again minutes later, same caller. A laughing caller. When attempting to unplug the keyboard, the caller noticed IT WASN'T plugged in to begin with.

Many cables are stuffed and stuck behind things (computer, desk, table, etc) so it's not obvious when they work themselves out of their snug little slots. Course, wireless keyboards and mice can eliminate this little snag...

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, and is it turned on?